We tell you what to see in Santiago de Compostela in 1 day, a place where millions of visitors come every year, attracted by its history, its magic, the architecture of its buildings, its gastronomy and the charm of the Camino de Santiago.
Visiting Santiago de Compostela is a unique experience that you can live getting lost in its narrow streets and admiring each of the corners and buildings that you find.
This city is the capital of Galicia and its old town is a World Heritage Site, so visiting Santiago is something you should do at least once in your life. If you have more days you cannot miss our tour with the best things to see in Santiago de Compostela in 2 days.
A tour with the best things to see in Santiago de Compostela in 1 day
Rua de San Francisco, beginning of the 1-day tour of Santiago
Although any place is good to start seeing Santiago in one day, we recommend doing it from the San Francisco Convent, located north of the historic center of Santiago de Compostela.
The façade of the Church of San Francisco, the church of the convent, is an authentic work of art and the first appetizer of everything you are going to find.
From there , Rua de San Francisco starts, which takes you directly to Plaza del Obradoiro, leaving aside the buildings of the University of Santiago and the Hospital of the Catholic Monarchs.
At last we arrive at the main square to see in Santiago and the end point for most of the pilgrims who arrive in the city after doing the Camino de Santiago.
In the extensive Plaza del Obradoiro, where it is common to see dozens of pilgrims and tourists, the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, now a Parador de Turismo, the Raxoy Palace, seat of the town hall, and the Colegio de San Jerónimo also stand out.
The Obradoiro façade is the best known of the Cathedral and a symbol of the city, but it is also worth taking a complete tour of the building and admiring the rest of the façades and the squares where they are located.
The Cathedral of Santiago, the main monument of Santiago
The best-known monument to see in Santiago de Compostela is its Cathedral
It is a spectacular temple that began to be built in the 11th century and where the tomb of the Apostle Santiago is located, which is why it is a destination for pilgrims from all over the world.
The main facade of the Cathedral of Santiago is located in the Plaza del Obradoiro, and there is where the spectacular Pórtico de la Gloria is located, in Romanesque style, located at the top of a Renaissance staircase and on which a Gothic facade stands crowned by two tall towers.
The interior of the Cathedral is also spectacular, highlighting the Choir, the Main Chapel, the Royal Pantheon, the Cloister or the Crypt, where the remains of the Apostle are found. And if you are lucky you will be able to see the Botafumeiro in action, one of the best-known images of the Cathedral of Santiago.
Surrounding the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
After admiring all the corners of the Plaza del Obradoiro and having visited the interior of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, it is advisable to go around the building completely, admiring each of the squares that surround it.
The most beautiful of all, in our opinion, is the Praza de Praterias, located in the square of the same name, forming an exceptional complex with it.
The next one is the Plaza de Quintana, where the Holy Door is located, which only opens in Xacobeo years, years in which the queues that form next to it to access the interior are very long.
After going up some stairs we arrive at the Plaza de la Inmaculada, where we can admire on one side the Jet Facade of the Cathedral and the Monastery of San Martín Pinario, the next point to visit.
The Monastery of San Martiño Pinario
Although its main façade that overlooks the Plaza de la Inmaculada is simply great, the best thing about the monastery is in a back square that we can walk to while admiring the typical houses in the center of Santiago de Compostela.
You should not miss the plateresque facade of the church in front of which there is a staircase that leads to the door through which you access its interior.
Inside there are two cloisters, the office one and the processional one. Do not miss the museum of religious art that can be visited in the monastery, although the entrance is through the church.
Plaza de Cervantes and the rest of the Old Town
The Plaza de Cervantes is very close to there, being a very lively place thanks to the number of shops that surround this area and the pilgrims who make their last meters to the Cathedral after entering Casas Reais Street, the gateway to the Camino de Santiago.
From there you can go back along the Old Town to the Mercado de Abastos, where in addition to enjoying its architecture and the atmosphere of a market day you can buy a product that will be cooked for you right there.
After a visit to the Mercado de Abastos and continuing towards Praza de Galicia, we can enter the Old Town again and enjoy enclaves as beautiful as Praza do Toural before touring the touristy Rúa do Vilar, with its famous arcades, and Rúa do Franco, full of souvenir shops and restaurants.
The best place to end this walk with the best things to see in Santiago de Compostela in one day is the Alameda Park, located very close to the Old Town.
The Alameda Park is the oldest to visit in Santiago and is full of historical elements of tourist interest.
Strolling through the Parque de la Alameda is a unique experience in the city and also from there you have a viewpoint from which to admire the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.
You can find more information about what to see in Santiago on the official Santiago de Compostela tourism page.